Category Archives: Business

Posts related to the business of photography

Top Five Photo Shoot Pitfalls To Avoid

Photo shoot pitfalls to avoid-Behind the Scenes.

The top five mistakes I’ve seen happen on shoots and how to avoid them

As a creative, you already have a lot on your plate, and now you need to do a photo shoot. There are many aspects of a photo shoot that have to come together just right in order to get the best possible images and make sure your investment pays off. Even some of the smallest things can derail a shoot and leave everyone scrambling. I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned over my career to help you put together a perfect photo shoot. Here are the top five mistakes I’ve seen or experienced and some tips on how to overcome them.

Choosing the Wrong Photographer

There are a lot of photographers around, but not every photographer is the same. It can be hard to know who to trust with your photo shoot. As creative people, we like to work with people we know or with whom we have a connection. However, choosing the right photographer for the project is critical, and just because you know someone who is a photographer doesn’t necessarily make them qualified for the job. Experience and vision are key to making a photo shoot successful.

Here are a few suggestions for selecting a great photographer. Do some research and ask other peers about photographers they like. This is a great place to start. Pay close attention to style, production value, and the overall look and feel of the work. Also, consider the feeling the images convey. Does all that match what you need? Most commercial photographers have one or two specialties and choosing the photographer with the images that reflect the look and feel you are going for will be something to consider closely.

Next, evaluate which photographer best matches your budget and usage needs. The tendency can be to pick a photographer based on price alone but this can cause major problems come shoot day. A good idea is to discuss the photographer’s experience, approach, equipment and crew requirements. In addition, an in-person portfolio review can be the best way to ask questions and see a photographer’s personality, and really get a feel for what it would be like to work with them. The extra time you take selecting the perfect photographer will pay off in the end.

Cutting the Budget in the Wrong Places

This can kill a shoot before it even gets off the ground. Everyone’s budgets are tight these days. We are all being asked to do more for less and everyone is looking for the best options at the best price. It’s important, and even critical, to understand where you can cut and trim and where you need to keep money in place to make sure everything goes smoothly. There does come a point where cutting things too much can cause serious problems on shoot day.

Some ways to trim the budget without sacrificing the quality of the shoot is by shooting fewer shots, fewer days, shooting locally, or evaluating crew needs. All this needs to be clearly communicated so everyone is on the same page come shoot day. A good photographer will ask lots of questions about the number of images they need to produce during a shoot day, how the images will be used, what client and agency expectations are, etc. Together with your photographer, you can find a good balance between quality and cost.

Miscalculating Time for Shots

This is one trap that I think everyone has fallen into, even myself. With budgets tight and clients often wanting stills and video shot together at the same time, being realistic about time requirements is critical. People tend to under-estimate how long it takes to shoot. It all comes down to making sure expectations are discussed and communicated.

As a photographer, I spend a lot of time trying to set realistic time constraints. Deciding in advance what shots are the most critical is important. Then if there is time, you can add in some extra shots. I suggest having a shot list with a list of “must haves” and then “extra shots” with time allocated to each of the critical shots. Setting locked in times when we move onto another shot or location is also important. This should all be done during a pre-production call or meeting. My philosophy is to provide clients with the most high-quality images possible, and trying to cram in too many shots in a single day can compromise that quality.

Not Having the Right Wardrobe

This is something that most people think about before the shoot but I’ve seen it fall through the cracks often. You can be in the perfect location with the perfect model and the most amazing light, but if the model is wearing the wrong clothes it will definitely kill the shot. You may be tempted to rely on talent to bring the right clothes. Doing so can cause problems unless things are communicated to the talent correctly. I always tell talent to text me pictures of what they are going to bring so I can see it beforehand, then I know what they have and we can buy something before the shoot to make sure we have what we need. Usually, you will need to go buy a few things to make sure everything comes together properly. Having a wardrobe stylist that can provide the talent with a full wardrobe is always the ideal, but not always in the budget. With careful planning, any potential wardrobe problems can be addressed and solved before the shoot. For most

I always tell talent to text me pictures of what they are going to bring so I can see it beforehand, then I know what they have and we can buy something before the shoot to make sure we have what we need. Usually, you will need to go buy a few things to make sure everything comes together properly. Having a wardrobe stylist that can provide the talent with a full wardrobe is always the ideal, but not always in the budget. With careful planning, any potential wardrobe problems can be addressed and solved before the shoot. For most shoots the combination of talent supplied wardrobe along with some supplemental purchases is ideal.

Choosing the Wrong Models

The last thing to keep in mind is where and how to get your talent for your shoot. There are times when you can use employees or friends but that often takes much longer to coordinate and sometimes doesn’t bring about the best results. In my experience, if you are shooting something specific about employees then use them, but that’s about the only time it makes sense.

Finding the right talent for a shoot can be a lot more time consuming and difficult than most people think. It’s critical to match the type of talent with the type of shoot you are doing. If you need to shoot a running shot make sure you have an actual runner, not just a pretty face. If you doing a lifestyle shot, make sure the models look good together and look believable, etc. Seems pretty simple, but the wrong model can really make the shoot much more difficult. On the other hand, the right model gives you exactly what you need and makes the shoot go much smoother.

I recommend developing a relationship with a few modeling agencies in your area and reaching out to them every time you have a project come up. That way you can see who they have to match your specific needs. Also look into specialty agencies to get exactly what you need.

Conclusion

I hope you find these tips helpful and that you can learn from what I’ve experienced over the years. Avoiding these five pitfalls on your next photo shoot will help ensure success.  If you have any questions or would like to reach out to discuss your next upcoming project, please reach out to me at brandon@brandonflint.com or call me at 801-875-8620. You can see my work at www.brandonflint.com and follow me on instagram at brandonflint_.

My Interview for Fulltimephotographer.com

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed for the popular podcast fulltimephotographer.com. I was excited to be a part of it and am really happy with how it turned out. If you would like some insight into how I started my career and my philosophies on working in photo industry. Go check it out. Thanks to Josh Rossi for the letting me contribute. It was a great experience. Here is the link to the interview.

http://fulltimephotographer.com/185-brandon-flint-keeping-the-faith/

Screenshot 2014-09-17 12.21.53

Intern’s and Shoot Preparation

This last week I brought on a new intern. His name is Bryan and I think he is going to be really solid. He is a graduate from Weber State and seems to be really knowledgeable and exited to learn. I think he will be a good asset to the team. We’ll have to grab a photo of him next week and get him on here. We had a solid day of orientation on Wed. so this next week he should be rockin.

I was able to get a good chunk of post production done and some images delivered to clients for SelectHealth and Browning. Feedback was good and they seemed to be really happy with the final shots. That is the part of my job I enjoy most. It takes a lot of work to put together and execute shoots well so when you finally get them delivered and the client is happy it is very satisfying.

Next week we have shoots with Utah Business Magazine and Good Housekeeping Magazine coming up. They should both be good shoots. I spent most of yesterday prepping for GH and getting people and locations ready. I’ve decided to, when possible, start implementing more medium format digital work on specific editorial portrait assignments. It think it is going to be great to help push the quality of my work. It isn’t always the right choice but for a solid portrait I don’t think you can go wrong. Just waiting on a few details for the Utah Business Mag shoot and I think we will be ready to go.

Lastly, I had a frustrating experience with bidding on a job this week. I was asked to to put together an estimate for a few corporate portraits and a shot that was going to used in an ad for a national business publication. It was a local company so it’s always hard to feel out what local Utah clients are expecting on price. I put it together based on the info I was given and sent it over explaining that because they wanted to use it in national magazine ad it was going to be a bit more expensive. It felt like it was a very competitive bid. They wrote back saying that they didn’t feel like the fact that it was going to be used in a national ad warranted an increase in the rate and that they were going to find another photographer that we cheaper. Classic right? Haha!

I wrote back and said that I do my best to price things out a fair price that reflects the quality of the work they will be getting and that part of professional photography pricing is based on how an image is going to used, but ultimately I didn’t get the job. It’s easy to start second guessing yourself in these types of situations but I’ve learned that if all a client is looking for a cheap photographer than your better off not getting that job and working with people that value what you do and what you do for them. You can’t fake quality but at the same time you also can’t make people see that quality and investment. Sometimes potential clients, despite your explanations and all your efforts,  just don’t see the value of your work and they don’t want to spend what it takes to get great shots. I understand that price is always a consideration for clients but if they are just looking for “a photographer” or don’t see the value you bring to the table, you probably don’t want that job. I like to work with people that see my work, like my work, see the quality and want to work with me not just “a photographer”. When they are exited, I get exited to work with them and am willing to do what I can to make it happen.

Being a freelance photographer you get some jobs and you don’t get some jobs and that is just how it goings. A friend told me one if you are getting all the jobs you bid on, your not charging enough! I think that is true. I think you just have to learn what you can from these experiences and keep going, never give up and be be faithful that you will get the work.

A parting shot from a recent portfolio shoot. Model: Chris York

Chris-1

 

Bookkeeping, Thailand, Film and a Timelapse

This last week has been a good one. I had to spend a good chunk of time on my books and had to pay sales tax which I realized I was a day late paying. Those are the things you just don’t think about doing when you start you own photography business. I use Quickbooks to do my day to day bookkeeping which works well as long as I keep on it and just update it every month. If I don’t it takes forever to update it because I have to go back and try and remember a bunch of transactions. Then I have my CPA do my end of the year stuff and taxes. Seems to work well but all of it takes time. Its one of those things you have to be really careful to stay on to keep the business running and so you can know where you are financially which is hard for lots of photographers and creatives in general.

I was in between shoots this week and was apple to get a bunch of editing done. Finally got through most of my Thailand shots from last month. Thailand was such an epic trip. What an amazing place. It was the first time I’d been somewhere that was totally out of my normal element and I loved it. It proved to be more of a challenge then I expected to get good portfolio stuff that was consistent with the rest of my work. Over all though,  I was happy with what I got and it was a great learning experience for me. It’s definitely not every day that someone offers to take you halfway around the world in exchange to teach them how to take better pictures so I wanted to make the most out of it. The only bad part of the trip was that I was fighting a head cold the entire trip which made for an uncomfortable trip but things could always have been worse.  Here are some of my favorites!

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Thailand- Thailand-6754 Thailand-6817 Thailand-5569  Thailand-8382 Thailand-8377 Thailand-8259 Thailand-8199 Thailand-8110 Thailand-7507 Thailand-6973Thailand-8583 Thailand-3443ChinaThailand-8646 Thailand-4057From the Plane Thailand-4194I finished editing a job I shot for SelectHeath and images I shot for a Browning clothing catalog so it was nice to get all caught up on my post production stuff.

On Wednesday I was working on some post production stuff and got sick of staring at my computer so I went and rented a medium format film camera and decided to shoot some new landscapes and portraits on film. It was fun to shoot on film again, it has been years since I have and it was a nice change up just go out and shoot old school again. I’m pickin up my film today and am exited to see how it turnd out. Along the way I captured a pretty epic timelapse of the fog building in the Salt Lake Valley. Check it out!

That was pretty much my week. Exited to about the new format of the blog. Hopefully as it develops it will be enjoyable to follow and read.  If there is something you would like me to write about please let me know. As always thanks for you checking it out and your support!